29 June 2012

Life of Art SitRep #125 A buck and a quarter

This week, I finished adding new iPad and Kindle Folio Cases as appropriate to my existing designs.

iPad Cases:
•Designed for Apple’s iPad 1, iPad 2, and new iPad (iPad 3).
•Water-resistant fabric wrapped hardcover exterior with elastic strap closure.
•Suede interior with document pocket and elastic device corners straps.
•Rubberized edges create folded viewing stand.
•Handmade with recycled materials in Brooklyn, New York.
•Size 9.87" x 8".

Kindle Cases:
•Designed for Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3rd generation.
•Water-resistant fabric wrapped hardcover exterior with elastic strap closure.
•Suede interior with document pocket and elastic device corners straps.
•Handmade with recycled materials in Brooklyn, New York.
•Size 7.8" x 5.25".

I also started to add magnetic frames to my shop:
•Fits 4"x6" photos.
•Sticks to any magnetic surface (refrigerators, lockers, filing cabinets).
•Size 5" x 7".
•Made in the USA.

More cool items in the works!

A year ago on TTaT: Wonder Woman: Amazons Attack

26 June 2012

1% Better

Of all the things I took away from Don Giannatti's Tabletop Product Photography workshop this weekend, and there were many, the one that struck me most was:
Every month in business, do 1 percent better.
Let that sink in for a moment.

Ideally, you want that 1% to cover every aspect of your business (quality of your product/service, money you earn, marketing, social media, website, number of jobs you book, etc.). All of it is a lot, but it's only one percent a month which means you don't have to make huge changes, just consistent incremental improvements.

In a year's time, you'll be 12% better than last year. That's pretty significant.

Consider the Olympics where a one percent distinction can be the difference between a gold and silver medal, or between being on the medal podium or not.

One percent can be huge.

Thank you, Don Giannatti, for how you phrased this concept!

I have been improving over time, but there are areas that have fallen by the wayside. Those neglected areas have value too, but they often feel overwhelming. 1% feels manageable.

I'm in.

3 years ago on TTaT: Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. ii)

23 June 2012

Free info on lighting and DIY gear

If you enroll for Don Giannatti's Tabletop Product Photography workshop on creativeLIVE this weekend*, you can download some cool FREE PDFs on lighting and DIY lighting modifiers. The diffusers are not for continuous hot lights like they use on film sets, but will be good for flashes and cool lights like fluorescents or household bulbs. (Use common sense and don't put them close to anything hot enough to set them on fire.)

The course is great, they're replaying today now and it'll be live again tomorrow starting at 9AM Pacific Time. It's free to watch this weekend, so check it out!

*I'm pretty sure you can't enroll for the course once it's done (Sunday 6/24/12 at 4 PM Pacific Time), so enroll now and download the free PDFs if you want 'em!

3 years ago on TTaT: The unbuttoned twin, for Vahid

22 June 2012

Life of Art SitRep #124 Powers of Two

This week, I watched the rest of Jared Platt's "Ultimate Lightroom Workflow" on Creative LIVE. And in a move that may seem counterintuitive, I bought it even though I don't own Lightroom (yet). His methodology for photographic workflow was that good.

A tidbit for you, Jared's 4 rules for selection:
1. No distractions.

2. Comparative review: You make better decisions based on options. When you look at one image at a time, you make worse decisions and it takes longer.

3. Positive Selection only: He only picks, he never rejects. Rejects are waste of time and bum you out.

4. Trust your gut instinct.
I took a stab at sorting 4 new folders of photos by Jared's rules. It's an adjustment since some other aspects of his workflow are out of order with what I've been doing, but it did help me be hardcore about my non-selections. Why waste time reevaluating stuff I didn't pick later?

And in a two-fer, I watched the first day of Tabletop Product Photography with Don Giannatti. I've been waiting for a true product photography workshop since I first started watching workshops on Creative LIVE. (Their workshops tend to focus on photographing people.)

Don's a great instructor and I'm looking forward to the rest of the workshop over the weekend. It's FREE to watch while it's live (or during the nightly replays), so check it out at http://www.creativelive.com/live!

It may not sound sexy, but if you want your Etsy and Ebay products to look better, this will help.

The biggest thing I did this week I can't really talk about, but I achieved significant forward momentum that will surface down the line. I'm excited. There's more work to be done but I'm proud of this step.

The process of adding more folio style iPad Cases and Kindle Cases to my existing designs continues. (Turns out the more designs you have, the longer it takes to add new products to them all. ;)

How was your week?

Two years ago on TTaT: Awareness is the new black

15 June 2012

Life of Art SitRep #123 Easy As...

The big takeaway from this week came today while watching the first day of Jared Platt's Ultimate Lightroom Workflow workshop on Creative Live. Lots of files on your desktop will bog your computer down by hogging RAM and scratch disk space. I feel like part of me knew this from before somewhere, but clearly I'd forgotten. My computer's performance does seem improved since I cleared off my desktop.

Also lots of great workflow tips. It's free and live this weekend with replays at night.

Revised my store intro a bit and rearranged it some. Moved my rainbow designs up top in honor of Pride month.

Made more folio style iPad Cases and Kindle Cases:

Mulled over some larger reorganization possibilities for my store. Alas the category structure is not drag and drop, at least not when you want to put a folder within another folder, so it's more time consuming. Didn't pull the trigger yet since I'm not sure I've got the best approach.

How was your week?

3 years ago on TTaT: Target, take 2

13 June 2012

Full Set

So remember how I said it's like I'm Norm walking into Cheers when I go to the bank?

Well, it still is, but today at long last, I completed my set.

I ran through all the names I knew before walking in, but the first person to greet me was the young man at the front desk whose name I wasn't sure of. I was impressed because he knew mine without overhearing someone else say it first.

"Hi, Claire," he said.

"Hi," I said just as Toni and Shelby said, "Hi, Claire!"

"Hey, Toni. Hey, Shelby."

I walked around the front of the young man's desk and said, "What's your name?"


"Mike, got it."

What's noteworthy here is that I didn't over-think it. Usually I'd be too nervous to ask or I'd feel weird about how long it's been, but I know I've never been introduced to Mike. It's not like I had and didn't remember his name. It's more that I had an impression that his name is Mike while knowing the nameplate on his desk reads Michael.

And guess what? It wasn't weird. It wasn't weird because I didn't make it weird. I just asked him his name to make sure it was what I suspected. It's a relief to know the full set of their names. Not knowing that last name for certain was gnawing at me, but I hadn't had an opportunity to ask until today (well since I blew my first chance to ask). It's nice to be on equal footing with all five of them.

I should probably try to approach more of my life without over-thinking it.

Two years ago on TTaT: Sketchbook, page 33

08 June 2012

Life of Art SitRep #122 Short and Sweet

I watched the first day of "Marketing for Photographers with Skip Cohen" on Creative Live today (replay on now!), but I'm anxious to get back to work, so here's what I did this week, short and sweet.

Shot 213 photographs.

Finished making Belt Buckles for my existing designs.

Started making new iPad and Kindle folio cases:

Have a great weekend!

Two years ago on TTaT: 20 Minute Yoga Workouts

06 June 2012

Swallows and Amazons

Swallows and Amazons29. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great summer read this was! This isn't exactly the edition I read (an illustrated hardcover from 1937), but it was the closest I could find here. My copy was the book's 12th reprint in 7 years. Popular and deservedly so.

The novel is about 4 siblings who go on a proper adventure made epic with their imaginations. By "proper," I mean the characters are people living in the real world. No portals to parallel worlds, no magic. It's refreshing actually.

I hate spoilers but I will say that they are independent, capable, loyal, and kind. Their mother is also pretty awesome. And there's lots of sailing. (A young reader may need help with all the nautical terms.)

Since the book was written and set in 1929, these kids get to enjoy a freedom that I think would be hard to find nowadays. They are friends I would like to have had when I was young though.

Two years ago on TTaT: Sketchbook, page 32

03 June 2012

Wild Cats

28. Wild Cats: Capturing The Natural Spirit Of These Amazing Animals by Mike and Peggy Briggs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic book full of color photographs of all sorts of big cats from all over the world. Tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, lynxes, margays, ocelots, jaguarundis, ... You name the wild cat, it's probably in here.

The bulk of the photos are full page images. Though the captions often describe what the animals eat, there are few photographs depicting the kills.

The captions, by the way, are awesome. If you had an elementary or middle school student doing a report on big cats, this would be a great resource. They cover the sizes of the different species, what they eat, where they live, how far/high many of them can leap or jump, folklore related to some, and how many are left in the wild.

It's heartbreaking that nearly all of the species are near extinction. I knew some were endangered, but it's really all but one or two species. And that can directly be blamed on us. When you read the diminishing population numbers from decade to decade and year to year for the tigers, genocide is the word that comes to mind (at least mine). Whatever variation of that word would apply to animals would apply here. Extermination, perhaps.

The book doesn't get preachy about it. It just conveys that these are beautiful endangered animals. If we don't protect them and their habitats, more will become extinct.

(On a side note, I'm not sure what it is this year, but I keep reading books that aren't in GoodReads. Keep having to add them from scratch. Sorry that I didn't see a picture of its cover anywhere; it's very cool.)

A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #69 Lost Weekend

01 June 2012

Life of Art SitRep #121 Doing it Wrong

One of the things I did this week was watch Lindsay Adler's Creative Live workshop "Social Media Marketing."

Let me take a moment to say that she's one of those people who knew she wanted to be a photographer early. She started a business shooting senior portraits at her high school when she was 15. While in college, she shot weddings and portraits. Then worked in London a while, then upstate NY, and now shoots fashion photography in NYC and London. 10+ years younger than me? Something like that. Anyway, my takeaway is that she is dialed in, so I'm paying attention.

It's one thing for people to tell you what you shouldn't do on social media but without concrete suggestions for how to approach what you should do, it's not that helpful. Lindsay's course gave me some things to think about it and approaches to try. My temperament may not be particularly well suited to social media, but I'm willing to give it a zag. We'll see how it goes (in part since I will start properly tracking metrics).

For a stormy week partially without my computer, I still got a fair amount done. Added a bunch more Belt Buckles to my shop.

I didn't finish everything I wanted to though. Thursday I wanted to get my methodical on and finish out a thing that's been a long time in coming, but my head just wasn't there. It was like I didn't want to be done or was afraid of finishing this next step. Needs to be done though, so I'll take another stab at it tomorrow (today but later).

For now, I will continue watching more of Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter (post) Countdown webcast. Her goal: $100,000. What she raised: over 1.1 MILLION DOLLARS! Fucking amazing. Now that's a life of art in action.

3 years ago on TTaT: 3 fucking tenths